Senior defender Emily Gupton and the Bishop Ireton girls’ soccer team lost to undefeated Holy Cross on Sept. 25.
Photo by Louise Krafft.
Bishop Ireton girls’ soccer coach Gino Leon describes the loss like it happened yesterday.
He remembers the Cardinals keeping the ball in their offensive half of the field for the entire second half, yet coming up empty. He talks about the four chances from the 6-yard box that didn’t get put in the net. And he remembers coaches talking to him for hours after Ireton’s 1-0 loss to St. John’s in the 2011 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship game, wondering how the Cardinals fell short.
“I have a sour taste in my mouth since and I’m trying to show that to the girls, to say, hey, you should be upset about what happened,” Leon said. “You knew were the better team, you should have won it. It was a perfect opportunity.”
So far, Leon hasn’t seen the intensity he desires from the Cardinals. He said this year’s Ireton team is more talented than the last year’s WCAC runner-up squad, but it hasn’t played to its potential. On Sept. 25, Ireton hosted undefeated Holy Cross and allowed a goal in the first four minutes. The Tartans added two more goals in the first half and cruised to a 3-0 victory.
“I have a sour taste in my mouth since [the loss to St. John’s in last year’s WCAC title game] and I’m trying to show that to the girls, to say, hey, you should be upset about what happened. You knew were the better team, you should have won it. It was a perfect opportunity.”
— Bishop Ireton girls’ soccer coach Gino Leon
The loss dropped Ireton’s record to 4-2-1, but Leon said the Cardinals have the talent to be undefeated.
“We didn’t show up,” he said. “We’re an extremely talented group, but somehow the fire is just not there. That intensity, the desire to do well [is absent]. It’s quite a puzzling thing. … I think we’re a better team than [Holy Cross]. I mean, hats off, they did a good job hustling and winning balls. They were beating us to the ball, we weren’t communicating [and] when we got to the final third, we were rushing things.”
As of Tuesday morning, Ireton was ranked No. 7 in the Washington Post’s top 10. Holy Cross was No. 10. Ireton opened the season with wins against Potomac School (3-1), Bethesda-Chevy Chase (2-1) and St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (7-2). After playing to 1-1 draw against National Cathedral, Ireton put forth what Leon called the team’s best performance of the year against Paul VI, beating the Panthers, 2-0, on Sept. 19 in Fairfax.
However, the Cardinals returned home the next day and lost to Georgetown Visitation, 3-1.
“Against PVI, we played our best game,” Leon said. “First half was good but the second half was amazingly good. But, yet, the next day we came over here against Visitation and stunk up the house. It’s really, really puzzling.”
It hasn’t been all bad for Ireton. Leon said some of his younger players have played well, including sophomore midfielders Grace Hamilton, Corinna Vasquez and Karen Gusmer, and freshman forward Lillian Weber.
Junior midfielder Adrienne Maday leads the team with five goals and forward Karina Azar has four.
Leon said senior defender Emily Gupton has the “heart of a lion” and junior defender Natalia Barrow, who missed Tuesday’s game against Holy Cross with a concussion, is the team’s best player.
Ireton will host St. John’s at 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28 in a rematch of last year’s WCAC championship game.